I have noticed over the past few months several posts on how pastors are the shepherds of congregants’ souls. Words like “authority,” “under,” “blessing,” “accountability,” etc. have been enough to make my skin crawl.
I think much of it comes from a faulty understanding of the relationship of the pastor to the people. Sure, the term “shepherd” is used in the NT to designate “elders.” And I am sure that advocates will be quick to cite Hebrews that we ought to “obey” our overseers.
As I have been out of full-time church ministry for a couple years now, I worry that many in the pastorate are disconnected from the life of the church.
- More conferences are offered (and attended) than I could begin to list here.
- The ability to take off work whenever their family is struggling.
- The frustration often felt (and exhibited) by pastors when people are not attending events at church–and I’m not talking about biblically-prescribed time of gathering to worship together.
- The justification to spend exorbitant amounts of money on books and travel and coffees–in the name of ministry.
Of course I am painting with a broad brush. I want to exhort my brothers and sisters to reconsider how you’re spending your time and others’ money. If we would empathize a little with where our church is, then I think we would be less quick to get frustrated and angry when people say “no” to attending that meeting. We would be more grateful when a brother meets another over coffee and pays out of his wallet. We would find resources for cheap or free or spend more time creating our own. We would work through the struggle as so many families do without taking off work…